Better Together Releases Baseline Report on Student Success Indicators in Central Oregon


This week a local movement called Better Together releases the first and most comprehensive collection of Central Oregon data on student success indicators. As the region’s most collaborative effort to support and advocate for children and young adults, Better Together partners are asking community members to find a role in helping youth excel from cradle to career. The Baseline Report features data and information on 25 community-identified measures that research and local wisdom have shown to significantly impact high school graduation rates and overall school success.

The data represents information from Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties including the current percentages of Central Oregon children and young adults who are:

Enrolled in quality early learning and care settings

• receiving early childhood health, wellness and developmental screenings to identify special needs and increase access to early intervention and prevention services;
• reading proficiently by grade 3;
• attending middle school on a regular basis;
• on track as high school freshman to graduate within four years;
• engaging in meaningful career exploration in high school;
• graduating from high school in four or five years;
• enrolled in higher education and job training programs; and
• enrolled in and completing two or four year degrees and certificates.

“There has never been a more inclusive or expansive effort to address the needs of youth in Central Oregon,” said John Rexford, superintendent for the High Desert Education Service District that oversees the Better Together initiative. “Better Together includes a broad reach of educators, community organizations, government agencies, business leaders and community members who are taking this data and creating a systematic approach to helping our children be successful in school and life.”

According to Rexford, the Baseline Report data is intended to guide and inspire collective community action and to engage community members beyond the education system to get involved.

“It’s critical that we use this data as a flashlight, not a hammer as work together to drive change,” said Rexford. “It’s a fact that too few of our Central Oregon youth are completing high school, persisting through advanced training and becoming gainfully employed and our schools can’t carry this weight alone. Each and every member of our communities must find a role in supporting the success of our youth from before birth to career.”

Better Together Director Anna Higgins says the ultimate goal is to align existing, emerging, and new efforts that focus on success for Central Oregon youth, not to reinvent them.

“There are countless efforts underway in Central Oregon to champion youth success and Better Together is designed to bring them all together to work in chorus rather than isolation,” said Higgins. “This is our opportunity to create long-lasting, large scale change by aligning our efforts.”

The Baseline Report is wrapped within a prominent call to action, which invites all community members to find a role in helping Central Oregon youth excel. From reading to young children, to becoming a mentor or providing student internship opportunities, the report lists numerous ways to contribute.

To view the complete Better Together Baseline Report, visit the High Desert Education Service District website:

For more information, contact Anna Higgins via phone: 541.771.6886 or email:

About Better Together
The Better Together cross-sector, tri-county partnership is one of the most comprehensive efforts to change the culture of higher education and training in Central Oregon. The collaborative is made up of schools, higher education institutions, businesses, community organizations, non-profits and government agencies across Central Oregon who are working together to ensure that more students are graduating from high school, moving on to education and/or training and ultimately getting a job they find meaningful.

Better Together partners are working to engageall Central Oregon community members tofind a role in supporting long-term student success. Over the coming months and years, the partners will be working to create a community-wide sense of ownership and involvement in the success of Central Oregon children.

About The High Desert Education Service District
The High Desert Education Service District (HDESD) is a regional support system that links Central Oregon school districts to state and national education resources. HDESD programs help districts minimize duplication of services, preserve their local budgets and receive special programs that might otherwise be unavailable to them. HDESD partners with multiple school districts including: Bend/La Pine School; Crook County; Redmond;Sisters; Jefferson County and Harney.


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